Happy Fourth of July! Please be safe out there. Hopefully, you’re not like me and have a day off to enjoy the company of friends and family. Maybe watch some baseball as a palate cleanser from all the soccer and NBA news. The knockout rounds of the World Cup have been lit. The winner of the Belgium-Brazil quarterfinal is probably the favorite to win it all. But let’s focus on my Hot Takes on NBA Free Agency. Because man, oh man, have there been some crazy NBA happenings.
A New Kingdom
That’s the cover of the sports section on Monday’s LA Times. LA is Bron’s town now. (Author’s Note: It’s not. It’s Magic’s town and probably always will be.) And even though it was widely expected to be what would happen, no one saw it coming this early into the Free Agency period. Less than a minute into the window opening, Magic Johnson was at LeBron’s home working out the details of bringing The King to Magic’s Kingdom. It was very quickly reported that Paul George was signing a long-term contract to stay with the Thunder. Everyone who thought it was going to take either PG13 or Kawhi Leonard joining up first to fully convince James were proven wrong just hours later when it was announced LeBron was signing a 4 year deal with the Lakers. This wasn’t a 1 and 1 like every contract he’s signed since leaving Miami. This is a long-term commitment. Los Angeles is where he wants to be. This is where his family wants to be.
It’s that last point that was the real driving force behind this decision. The James family wanted to be in LA, where they already have two homes. LeBron also wants to learn how to be a mogul post career and there is no one better to learn from than Ervin Magic Johnson. And on top of that, this Lakers team is going to be competitive again. LeBron automatically makes that happen. Add to that the drawing power of the LA market, and the security of LeBron not bolting after 1 season, and the Laker’s could be the biggest threat to the Warriors dynasty in a couple years time. Maybe not in season one (more on that in a bit), but certainly in seasons 2 and 3.
Since the signing of LeBron, LA has announced deals with Lance Stephenson (the biggest nuisance on court for LeBron), JaVale McGee (and the renouncing of Julis Randle), Kantavious Caldwell-Pope (who is signed to the same agency as LeBron and was the first writing on the wall when Magic signed him last season to a 1 year deal), and Rajon Rando (who possess the “high IQ” LeBron lamented not having around him in Cleveland). These signings raise some questions on their own.
- Who is going to shoot the ball?
- What happens to Lonzo Ball?
- Is the Kawhi deal still on the table?
- Is this team enough?
No one has those answers yet. It’s July 4th. But I can guarantee that the Los Angeles Lakers do not look the same as they do at this moment come playoff time. But they will be in the playoffs. And that is more than you can say for this franchise the last 5 season. Magic has already won this season and it doesn’t even start for another 4 months.
Boogie By The Bay
The other big piece of news so far this week has been the 1 year, $5.3Mil deal that DeMarcus Cousins has signed with the Golden State Warriors. Yes, the team that has won 3 of the last 4 Championships and won 73 games in the season where they didn’t, have added a 5th All-Star player to their loaded team. And if you believe social media and pundits everywhere (including some for this site), there is absolutely no reason to play the 2018-2019 season. Give the trophy to GS now. And I’ll agree that they are clearly the favorites to win another title. But here’s the thing: they already were. And if this past season taught us anything is that even if things ultimately happen the way we expect, it can still be wildly unpredictable and entertaining on the way there.
Boogie was only available to the Warriors on the low because of an Achilles injury. He won’t play until mid-season at the earliest, and there have been plenty of players who haven’t come back from Achilles injuries the same players they were before the injury. What this move does is give Boogie a chance to properly heal his injury without feeling the pressure to come back quick because his team needs him to win. The Warriors have proven they don’t need him to win. So he can take his time. And he’ll only be there for one year most likely because once he’s back and healthy he’s going to want his payday. Maybe the Warriors decide to keep him if Klay decided he wants to go somewhere else next offseason. (maybe another California team that deeply lacks shooters…).
And it shouldn’t be overlooked that Boogie doesn’t have a good reputation around the league. And his playing style doesn’t really make the most season in Golden State’s system. The biggest benefit the Warriors get from having him on their team may actually be the fact he’s not on anyone else’s.
Other Free Agency Anecdotes So Far
- DeAndre Jordan is finally a Dallas Maverick. This is my favorite thing so far this offseason after what happened in 2015
- Trevor Ariza sign a 1 year deal with the Phoenix Suns. The Rockets may have honestly blown their best shot with their historically bad shooting in Game 7, because I don’t see them coming close again as they look right now.
- The NBA has seemingly forgotten the existence of Isiah Thomas. Some team is going to get a damn good player with a chip on his shoulder on the cheap. (Please Dwayne Casey, make this happen)
- Clint Capella and Marcus Smart have still not been signed. Both should be getting big paydays. And both would be huge losses if their current teams can’t get it done.
- John Tavares is going to be a fucking Toronto Maple Leaf. This is the worst. (I also didn’t specify I was only talking about NBA Free Agency)
- Poor Islanders. Just in general. But also, they’re the Islanders. You get sad about them the way you get sad about the Mets. In other words, you expect it and kinda find it funny.
- / 9 hours ago
You made it! It’s finally the end of another work week. Celebrate with the...